AMI/NAMTA Conference

Montessori Academy of Naples had eight representatives at the 2013 Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)/ North American Montessori Teacher Association (NAMTA) Conference in Tampa, Florida over the  President’s Day weekend.  The theme of the conference was Guiding the Universal Child to Maturity— The formative roles of family, school, community,& culture.  In addition to the Montessori refresher courses for AMI-certified teachers, participating MAN Board members, administrators, and teachers attended seminars and workshops that covered topics from Administration to Advocacy;  Montessori Math to Practical living; peace education to the effects of consumerism on the development of the child.  Five of MAN’s representatives participated in the North American Montessori Teacher Association (NAMTA) adolescent workshops to gather information and wisdom to bring to MAN’s Adolescent Program which is already in development.

Across the weekend, participants enjoyed a myriad of speakers from a variety of backgrounds.  The keynote address was delivered by Professor Tim Kasser of Knox College.   Professor Kasser has done extensive research on the effects of consumerism on the happiness or satisfaction with life.  His decades of research not only confirms the negative impact of advertising on the developing brain but reinforces the importance of limited screen time and the necessity for hands-on, practical, social-minded, and real-life experiential  practices like those employed in Montessori education.  Attendees were also treated to a luncheon address by renowned author Paula Polk Lillard.  Montessorians have been reading and re-reading her books and using them as teaching tools for decades so hearing her speak was both humbling and empowering.

All-in-all, the participants came away from the weekend think-tank with new friends, new food for thought, and a renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for the important work of educating the whole child as a means to a better world.  In short, the 2013 AMI/NAMTA conference was inspiring.